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I have to admit: I have a new obsession with wool covers. I am so mad at myself that it took me so long to try them!
Wool diaper covers are not as common as covers made from PUL or TPU, and they have a considerably higher price tag per cover, which is why I haven’t used them until recently. However, the cost is not tit for tat, meaning that you get more value and longer use out of a wool cover. You need fewer covers when you go with wool than you do for other materials.
You get by with less of them because you do not need to wash them after every use, or even every day. I know what you’re thinking–that sounds unsanitary or disgusting.
The lanolin in the wool makes this diaper cover naturally antibacterial. It’s also what makes the diaper waterproof. When the cover gets wet, you will want to let it air dry before using it again, but once it is dry you can continue to use it without washing (for a while anyway…we will talk more about washing later). When urine hits a properly lanolized wool cover, the lanolin acts almost like soap to keep the diaper fresh.
Over some time, the lanolin will wear away and you will need to wash and lanolize your cover. This sounds like it would be a pain, but it’s much simpler than it sounds.
What Makes Wool A Good Diaper Cover Material?
Wool is one of the most natural materials you can put on your baby, and it is pretty much the only water-resistant option for a diaper cover that isn’t made from synthetic materials. This makes it the perfect choice for babies with sensitive skin and families trying to avoid synthetic materials.
You can get by with just a couple wool covers , or if you plan not to use wool exclusively, then having one is just fine! If you only use it at night, you can let it air dry during the day. On nights where it’s drying from being washed, you will just need to find a different diapering option. But that only would need to happen once a month or so.
If you want to use wool covers often, you still only need a few of them. You can wear the same cover for days without washing. Having a few will help so you can rotate to allow drying and air time if the cover gets wet, and they can take a couple days to dry after they have been washed.
Wool has greater longevity (with proper treatment and care) than typical covers. They should easily have the lifespan to be used on multiple children.
Pros of Wool Diaper Covers
Here are all of the reasons I’m in love with wool:
- Natural fiber
- Sustainable & Renewable resource
- It has its own absorbency to help absorb leaks from the diaper underneath, making it a virtually leakproof option for nights, as long as its properly lanolized.
- Cute and stylish–can double as clothing
- Breathable fabric that allows for airflow to keep skin healthy
- Warm in winter, cool in summer (only commercialized wool is hot and itchy)
- Can go a few weeks, or even a month, without washing if it isn’t soiled
- Great resale value
- Never needs to be sanitized due to being naturally antibacterial
Cons of Wool Diaper Covers
Wool isn’t for everyone. Here are the cons:
- Must be hand washed & lanolized (not difficult to do, see the section below)
- No machine washing or drying
- Long drying time
- May be bulky under clothing
- More expensive than PUL or TPU covers
- Needs to be “broken in” to be effective
Just FYI for those new to wool– when you receive a brand new wool cover, it will not be felted yet. Felted means that the fibers tighten together, which helps make it water resistent (along with the lanolin). You will notice when you look at a new cover, you see little holes just like with any knitted item.
The wool cover with felt (or tighten) naturally on its own over time. If you want to speed up the process, there are ways to do this by hand.
Also, some new covers will say that you don’t need to lanolize before use, but most people find lanolizing new wool right away beneficial for the best results.
How to Care for Wool
Here is an overview of what you should expect when caring for wool covers. This is not necessarily a step-by-step guide for washing wool (this will come in a future post), but it’s just some information to help you know what to expect.
When wool gets soiled or starts to smell, that means it could stand to be rewashed and lanolized.
Do not put in the washer or dryer. You must handwash wool, otherwise, you risk shrinking and damaging the fibers. You can handwash it in the sink with lukewarm water and some wool wash or olive oil soap. Work out any stains gently with your hands. Rinse with lukewarm water.
Some wool washes, like the Eucalan soap pictured here, contain lanolin, which means you may not need to do a full lanolin soak as often.
But if you use a soap that doesn’t have lanolin, or you feel your cover needs a boost, you can take a dab of lanolin and dissolve it in a cup of warm water to add to your sink of lukewarm water. Stir the water to try and evenly distribute the lanolin solution, and then soak your cover thoroughly.
Don’t wring out or roughly squeeze your wool. To remove excess water, try folding the cover and pressing it. This will be gentler on the fibers.
Types of Wool Diaper Covers
As of right now, I only own a Disana wool diaper cover, but this will be changing when baby #3 comes. I am a wool convert!
I love this diaper cover because they double as pajama bottoms. My son loves wearing them, too. Here you can see my toddler wearing his. Not the most cooperative pic, but he hates being a model.
I love Disana because it is 100% organic, a reasonable price-point, and a high-quality cover. I plan to get a couple of these in their smallest size to use with my newborn diaper stash (prefolds & fitteds) when the new baby comes.
They remind me of bloomers which might be one reason why I think they’re so cool. 😉 This cover here is size 2T-3T.
There are several other wool products available for babies that you may enjoy. One thing you will notice is that prices for quality wool brands can be quite steep. That is one reason why I love Disana covers so much. Quality, but the price is reasonable.
When you opt for some cheap, thin wool, they might be fine for daytime use, but using at night may not offer as much protection as quality wool.
Using Wool At Night
My favorite use for wool covers is nighttime cloth diapering.
Many parents know the struggle of trying to find a diaper that can hold all night without leaks.
Fitteds are one of the most absorbent options for overnight, but you need a cover for a fitted. If you put a wool cover over a fitted, then you have a little bit of back up absorbency. The wool will help to make sure the fitted diaper fully absorbs all it can, but then the wool can stand to absorb the excess.
No more will your child wake up crying at 2 am with soaked sheets!
This was the reason I went ahead and bought a wool cover for my son. I wish I had done this years ago.
More posts to come on washing wool!
Have you tried wool diaper covers? What do you think? Let me know in the comments!